100 Years On: A Tribute to the Auckland City Mission
100 years on:
A tribute to the Auckland City Mission
For 100 years, from one pandemic to another, the Auckland City Mission has served and walked alongside some of this city’s most vulnerable.
The Mission was born in the immediate aftermath of the most severe pandemic in recent history, the Spanish flu. And also in the wake of the first World War. Absent any comprehensive social welfare, the nation struggled to cope with the fallout of these cataclysmic events: the social and economic fall-out of the flu, the influx of veterans returning home. It was within this tumult, this need, that the Auckland City Mission began.
Now, in the thick of yet another pandemic, the Mission has just celebrated its 100th birthday. Once again — as Aotearoa struggles to face the social, health, and economic fallout of covid-19 — its work has never seemed more vital.
But the Mission’s Chief Executive, Chris Farrelly, is quick to highlight not only the increased need at this time, but also the outpouring of generosity. Crises, he says, have the power to bring out the best in us. They unlock, or reveal, the “goodness in our country, the kindness that pumps away”.
To hear Chris talk more about this bloodstream of kindness, tune in to our inaugural episode of the podcast, Contagious Kindness, co-hosted by Anna Cusack and Lauren Sanderson. Let me tell me about one of my favourite stories that Chris told that exemplified that spirit of generosity.
Do you remember how good it felt to get takeaways again in level 3? Even if you don’t normally get takeaways very often, there’s nothing like being forbidden a treat to make it seem more desirable. Well, like me and many others, Chris set off to buy some well-earned takeaways, and who did he see there but another human being (after five weeks of level 4, I was starting to doubt whether such persons excited outside of the tele).
Whether out of the excitement of seeing another human — or more likely, because he’s just an affable guy — Chris struck up a conversation. Here’s the cool part: when Chris mentioned he worked for the Auckland City Mission, the other human (a young doctor, I recall) took out a $100 note from her wallet and gave it to Chris to support the Mission’s work. What an incredible story of spontaneous generosity!
The moral of the story is, of course, to give $100 to the next person you see at the local takeaways. Just joking. Though if that’s your thing, don’t let me stop you. (Incidentally, I’m quite fond of the fish & chips store in Mission Bay; might see you there ….)
We might not have $100 cash to part with, but what if we had far more potential to give than we realise? Give Better is a community of kiwis discovering just that: that we can give more, save more, and savour the moment. Imagine you’re at the takeaway store about to order three fish & two large chips. But then, out of the corner of your eye, you see it:
“Post-lockdown special: Panko Prawns, only $7!!!”
Before you know it, you’ve added prawns to your order. The point is not that you shouldn’t, or should, get those prawns. But Give Better encourages us to pause.
You might still decide to get the prawns: great, savour the moment. But you might equally realise you have enough kai, you’re iffy about the prawns, and really, you were just caught — hook, line and sinker — by some clever marketing. (You’re not alone: welcome to my life.) But once you’ve realised that, you might then think: ‘actually, I won’t buy the prawns: I’d rather repurpose that $7 to giving and saving. So you plug $7 into the app, and according to your preferences, some of that flies off to your chosen charity, the Auckland City Mission.
Ok, that’s one story. This one-minute video describes a few others. The point is that thousands of small decisions like these amount to a powerful movement of generosity.
Like many other charities, the Auckland City Mission could really do with some generosity right now. In Chris’ words: “We have one of the biggest mountains to climb in the next six months, and it will require the best of us, the most generous of us”.
Together, by repurposing $2 here and $5 there, the Give Better community can help the Mission up and over that mountain.
Your generosity will support the Auckland City Mission’s community centre, Haeata, catering nutritious meals in a safe and welcoming environment. Every $10 provides one of these meals.
Come join us.